I bemoan the Yankees and Red Sox all the time, and with good reason I believe. Not only does the national media seem to think that they are the only two teams in baseball, they routinely spend money like they are printing it in the basement. So far this offseason those two teams get a pass as it’s the Angels and the Marlins who are playing with Monopoly money.
The Marlins have a new stadium that cost $640 million, and for some reason that has led them to think that they are going to be able to sell it out for the next decade. Good luck with that. The fact of the matter is that the Marlins have had some great teams over the years but the fans just haven’t consistently come to the park (with so much to do in Florida, I can understand why that is the case). Will that change after the moves the team is making? It had better or this will be a disastrous situation in a few years (a cycle that they have unfortunately been through multiple times).
The Marlins fired off the first huge salvo of the the offseason when they made Jose Reyes their new shortstop. Of course, we’re now getting this back and forth from Hanley Ramirez who apparently feels disrespected that the Fish would bring in someone to play his position. Get over yourself Hanley. Reyes is a better defensive shortstop, that’s just the fact, and his addition to the lineup is a huge infusion of talent and skill. Suck it up, get back to full health, and cause some serious damage with your new running mate homie.
Cost: 6 years, $108 million
The Marlins also signed two hurlers to bolster the staff. They added Heath Bell to lock down the ninth inning on a 3-year deal with a fourth year option. They then went out and surprised everyone by adding Mark Buehrle on a four year contract when most didn’t think they were truly in on the lefty until late in the game (I will have write ups on both players in the near future in the ever popular Player Profile series). Bell is a top-10 closer, and while Buehrle has never been an elite arm, he has 11-straight seasons of 200-innings and 10 wins, and no pitcher in the game can match that feat.
Cost: Bell – 3 years, $27 million ($9 million option)
Buehrle – 4 years, $58 million
TOTAL COST: $193 million (plus $9 million option on Bell)
You ain’t seen nothing yet.
The Angels, apparently frustrated that they didn’t get to blow their wad last year on Adrian Gonzalez, Adrian Beltre or Carl Crawford, have gone totally bonkers. Not only did they grab the greatest hitter of our generation, they also added the best starting pitcher on the market for good measure.
Out of nowhere, an I’m talking something akin to the admission by Darth Vader that he was Luke Skywalker’s father, the Angels swooped in and signed Albert Pujols after everyone in the media had him going to the Marlins or Cardinals. The Angels offer was $40 or so million more than the other two teams were reportedly willing to spend. The result is that Pujols will receive the second largest contract in baseball history behind only the 10 year, $275 million deal Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees. Already 31 years old, I think it’s foolish to give Pujols a 10 year deal, but that’s what it took to obtain his services and Angels’ owner Arte Moreno would not be denied his prize this offseason.
Cost: 10 years, $250-260 million
Needing a compliment for their new toy on offense, the Angels also signed the best pitcher on the free agent market, C.J. Wilson (for my thoughts on what Wilson brings to the table, give his Player Profile a read). Given that estimates all offseason penned Wilson as a pitcher who wanted, and was likely to receive, $100 million, can it be said that the Angels actually got a bargain here? A rotation of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Wilson and Ervin Santana sounds mighty impressive and should cause plenty of AL teams to be Nervous Nancies heading into the 2012 season.
Cost: 5 years, $75 to $77.5 million
TOTAL COST: $325 to 337.5 million
Can money by a championship? We’ll find out as money is flying around this offseason with no regard to the fact that the United States economy is not exactly booming right now. Time will tell, but as we’ve seen many times in sports, throwing money around isn’t always the answer.
By Ray Flowers